Bill Mak bill.m.mak at gmail.com
Sat May 14 10:55:21 UTC 2022

Many thanks to all who replied offline. The references to Hindu tantra and kūṭākṣara were particular useful!

Best regards,


> On 13 May 2022, at 23:05, Bill Mak <bill.m.mak at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear colleagues,
> A colleague working on Yunnan Sanskrit inscription showed me an ink rubbing recently (15th century?) and I noted the impossible character āṃḥ (middle of the three bīja letters in the attached image). This character is well known in the Japanese esoteric tradition and there are some scanty references to it in works by Ōna <https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jeb1947/1968/85/1968_85_16/_pdf/-char/ja> and recently Rambelli and Dolce <https://brill.com/view/book/edcoll/9789004306523/B9789004306523_009.xml>. When I asked Prof. Kojima Giryū who specialises in Siddham characters some years ago, I was given the impression that this might have been a Japanese innovation. So it is interesting to find this in the Yunnan corpus as well. I am curious if anyone knows of any discussion about this impossible character in Sanskrit literature, especially in non-Buddhist Indian sources.
> I also wonder if anyone knows anything about the “sthrīṃ” letter (first one from left). Someone in China collected a variety of specimens using this character, suggesting that it may have some significance in the Esoteric Buddhist tradition in Yunnan: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/FIkJktzIBIxXWf7swCL2QA <https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/FIkJktzIBIxXWf7swCL2QA>
> Best regards,
> Bill
> <Figure 2 peg.jpeg>
> -- 
> Bill M. Mak, PhD
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